tv Politics Nation MSNBC August 14, 2014 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
al sharpton starts now. good evening. >> good evening. thanks to you for tuning in. breaking news out of oh ferguson, missouri. a major announcement from governor jay nixon. after days of unrest following the death of unarmed teenager michael brown, the headline tonight, the missouri state highway patrol will take over supervising security in ferguson. the governor moved to restore calm saying he's making a change -- an operational shift. >> this is the place are where people work, go to school, raise your families, go to church. a diverse community. a missouri community. lately it's looking more like a war zone. that's not acceptable. we need to address immediate challenges. today i am announcing the missouri highway patrol under the supervision of captain ron johnson who grew up in the area will direct the team that provides security in ferguson.
>> captain ron johnson, the new man in charge grew up in ferguson. >> i understand that the anger and fear that the citizens of ferguson are feeling. our police officers will respect both of those. >> the change came after a day of mounting pressure thags nationwide. claire mchaskill spoke out for demilitarizing the police and criticized swat teams saying this kind of response by the police has become the problem instead of the solution. senator majority leader harry reid said, "it is hard to think that the seeds unfoldi ining -- scenes unfolding in ferguson are taking place in the year 2014." also eric holder briefed president obama on the situation in ferguson and made news saying the justice department is offering technical assistance to
local authorities. president obama called the for peace and calm. saying there is no excuse for police to use excessive force. >> there is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who use this as a cover for vandalism or looting. there is no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protesters or throw them in jail for lawfully exercising their first amendment rights. here in the united states of america police should not bully or arrest rest journalists who are trying to report to the american people what they see on the ground. >> tonight missouri authorities are making a change as the nation braces for what's ahead. joining me now in ferguson is slalt.com's jamal boey who has
been covering the story on the ground. on the phone is lacy clay whose district includes ferguson. >> thank you for having us. let me thank you and the national action network. for coming to st. louis and meeting with the family of michael brown. i have been in touch with ms. mcspadden and her attorney. our heartfelt condolences go out to the family. i assured her that i am seeking justice for her family and for the death of her son, for the murder of her son. >> let me ask you. >> go ahead. >> are you happy with the governor did today and do you want more action from the
federal government? >> i am supportive of what the federal government has done so far. we have been in constant contact. and i will continue to work with the governor until we get justice. they and the st. louis community deserve justice for the murder of an 18-year-old young man. i will continue to urge the governor to go for a fair prosecution i will continue to urge eric holder to take over the case so there are no tricksment there is no confidence in either one of those authorities in st. louis now.
we have to move beyond that. >> let me ask you. you have been covering this from the beginning. the head of the highway patrol said protesters will see a different approach tonight. listen to this. >> when we talk about boots on the ground, my boots are going to be on the ground. i plan on tonight myself walking to the quick trip that has been called ground zero and meeting with the folks there myself tonight. so we are going to have a different approach. we have been out in the thick of the attacks by police with teargas. you were out there, smelled it, inhaled it. you saw and felt first hand what many of us saw on television. i had just gotten back from st. louis. i couldn't believe my eyes. from the vantage point of the protesters and those covering it, what do we need to see?
what changes do we need to see from authorities and describe to us what it felt like being out there last night. >> with regards to last night i was on the peripheral of the teargas and shooting of the rubber bullets stepped away, came back and by that point everything had broken loose. i heard all the shooting. i wasn't directly in the thick of it. i will say that what i think protesters want from the police is just a totally are proportional approach to crowd control. we can agree when there are big demonstrations there should be a police presence if people get injured, in case things get out of hand. these haven't been getting out of hand. they have only escalated once the police brought in armored vehicles, heavy weapons and things that the police have no interest in communication.
for tonight and this evening what i hope we see is a standard police response, regular uniformed police. you know, not training rifles on the crowd or carrying heavy weapons. making sure people don't get hurt and injured. >> part of the misnomer, i keep hearing people say there were riots every night, looting, violence on sunday night. when i was there we had a huge rally as jamel knows with hundreds of people. people were coming together. it's when they rolled this equipment out that i think tensions began escalating. >> to get this military equipped they are not even properly trained to use the equipment.
for them and for these folks demonstrating who are my constituents, they don't deserve to look into the barrel of a machine gun in order to peacefully assemble. as well as an entire national conversation about this. >> there was a huge political wave that really came with real strength today to kind of push back against what we saw last night from the police. tell us about the impact of that. i mean, from the president of the united states, attorney general harry reid, on and on. this was a big political shift in how we address this case as well as how we address how they are dealing with policing the protest.
around this time yesterday people were coming out showing the armored personnel carriers. the cops in riot gear. the police with sniperer rifles training them down on protesters. it was tweeted and retweeted. then the live streaming of teargas being thrown at protesters as we are seeing on the screen now. the pressure was mounting on elected officials to do something, say something, show that what we were all seeing on our televisions and on twitter was unacceptable. i myself yesterday several times tweeted out where is governor nixon? where is mayor knowles, police chief tom jackson? with this happening it seemed no
one was in charge. there was lawlessness but not on the part of the protesters. on the part of people who were supposed to protect and serve. i do want to say one thing. of all the public officials i was calling out for, there was one public official who actually -- at least by twitter was letting it be known she saw what was happening and that was senator claire mchaskill, junior senator from missouri. she was engaged and involved. governor nixon tweeted things out around midnight. we didn't hear or oh see from him until today. >> let me go back to the congressman on that. one thing is no police were at the governor's press conference. is that a signal of something? do they know they're out?
sure. what's important is what happens over the next week, how we deal in our community. it's okay to tweet and to put out signalsle. what do we do to actually change the dynamic of how police could police the african-american community. that's going to require systemic change. i hope my colleagues like senator mchaskill are willing to work with me along with governor nixon. i have been in constant contact with nixon all week, urging him to make changes in the policing method. when you think about it, that's the spark that ignited all of this.
the murdering of an 18-year-old young man in ferguson, missouri. >> let me go back to you. you're on the ground. you're there. what do you expect tonight? peaceful protests? what do you expect to see tonight? >> for the past two hours, there's been a peaceful demonstration by the quick trip that was burned down sunday night. earlier today there was a similar demonstration across from the police department and city hall . i expect both things to continue through the evening. i think a large group of people have begun walking down the street we are on now. i expect continued demonstrations from a wide variety of people. what folks need to understand about this demonstrations is they are diverse with a broad crowd. >> they are. >> this is a concern for the entire ferguson community.
>> it's been multi racial clearly. at the big rally that i spoke at the other night it was clear that people were not making conclusions. they just want a fair process. that's the spirit of the area and the congressman has always said let's be fair. thank you congressman lacy clay for being on by phone. jamelle bouie and jonathan capehart. still ahead, will today's operational shift stop another night of chaos? we'll hear from journalists and film makers arrested and even teargassed by police. >> holy [ bleep ]. >> see, they're media, too. >> also growing concerns about the michael brown investigation. a new witness comes forward to talk about the shooting.
>> the kid body jerked as if he was hit. as his body jerked he turned around, put his hands up. the cop continues to walk up on him, shoot him until he goes down. >> this is america, not a war zone. do sniper rifles and military vehicles belong on our city streets? that's ahead on a special edition of "politics nation" on msnbc. >> this is their everyday life. they're mad. they're mad. i'm mad. we should all be mad, man. we should all be angry because of what's going on right now. >> how can we feel like we can have free speech if there is a guy staring down a sniper rifle as we speak? this is kathleen. setting up the perfect wedding day begins with arthritis pain and two pills. afternoon arrives and feeling good, but her knee pain returns... that's two more pills. the evening's event brings laughter, joy, and more pain...
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helping you fall asleep and stay asleep so your body can heal as you rest. advil pm. for a healing night's sleep. here in the united states of america, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs and report to the american people on what they see on the ground. >> president obama today condemning the disproportionate show of police force toward some journalists in ferguson, missouri. wesley lowry of the washington post and ryan reilly of the
huffington post were in a mcdonald's in ferguson last night when officers dressed in riot gear told them to leave lowry caught part of the exchange on video. >> grab your stuff. let's go. >> i'm working on it. >> stop videotaping. >> i have the right to videotape you, sir. >> let's go. >> please don't wave your gun at me. >> let's go. >> you are see me working. >> don't tell me -- >> time to go. >> don't wave a gun at me. >> we are down to 45 seconds. let's go. >> the reporters were arrested, put in a holding cell and later released. no the rights were read. and they didn't get any answers. >> so you're saying there is not going to be an arrest report? >> no. we are not arresting or detained. >> we were told a litany of charges. officers had a lot to say to us. despite that there won't be any -- >> they told us to release you. >> where is the chief?
>> somewhere. >> you have to go out that door. >> what was that? arrested with no reason given? they weren't the only ones targeted. a photo journalist from the nbc affiliate ksdk was shooting footage when a bean bag round hit his camera equipment. officers also launched teargas and a crew from aljazeera america. even though reporters said they identified themselves as press. officers dismantled the crew's lights and pointed their cameras toward the ground. st. louis alderman antonio french was arrested last night. he said officers dragged him out of his car where he'd gone to escape teargas. demonstrators protested alderman french's arrest outside the police station. a local film maker and columnist
covering the protest were arrested, too. there is no justification for the police force we have seen against peaceful residents. and intimidating the journalists trying to shine light on this story is shameful. joining me now are the two men arrested while they were covering that protest, ryan frank and umar lee. thank you both for being here. >> you're welcome. >> thank you for having us. >> let me start with you, umar, why did the place say they were arresting you? >> the police said they were arresting us for failing to obey an order. we were standing on a public sidewalk monitoring the events. they were using teargas, rough house tactics in the streets i grew up in in tanks, sniper rifles. we wanted to monitor what they were doing. the public has a right to know. when you don't have a free media you don't have a free society.
>> that's true. ryan, what was going through your mind? what was your reaction when the police were going to arrest you during your journalistic profession? >> i was expecting it at that point. i was walking up -- i'm sorry. somebody was talking to me. >> go ahead. >> umar, let me go back to you. >> all right. >> go ahead. what was going through your mind? did they know y'all were journalists? >> they knew who we were. one of the officers pointed at us and said there is nothing special about them. ryan is a film maker. i'm just a local independent journalist. they had no reason to arrest us whatsoever. >> al, i was watching twitter and seeing reporters that were
getting attacked. they were getting arrested. we felt it was important to go down and cover the protests late night. we heard journalists were pushed out. we went down to monitor the situation and keep an eye on it. i was shocked what i saw. peaceful protesters were approached by a convoy of county s.w.a.t. who were intimidating us with assault rifles and batons. >> i want the control room to put up the footage going on thousand. this is live. the new protest is going on right now as i speak in the town of ferguson, missouri. these are people obviously peaceful, not lots of people. but clearly making their statement. they are marching as we speak to you. umar, what do you expect now that you have heard that the governor has changed who will be handling the protests there.
what do you expect? >> this is the show me state. we have to see. they're talking but we have to see. there are a lot of politicians and preachers with a lot of good things to see. we need action demonstrate maryland the community. north st. louis county isn't just ferguson. it's been burning for 30 years without no systemic redress to the problems in the community. we could use this to improve the community or we could use it to go in the other direction. >> one of the politicians i mentioned was alderman antonio french. he was arrested. i want to play to you what he said afterwards. listen to this. >> i think they rounded up anybody they could see. inside the jail is nothing but peacekeepers. they picked up the wrong people. it wasn't the trouble makers. it was peace makers. you have reverends in there, young people organizing the peace effort. they picked up the wrong people.
>> ryan, do you agree with that? >> yes, sir. i don't know what the right and the wrong people is. i saw peaceful protesters that were spirited and enthusiastic. they were exercising their rights to assemble. you know, i was shocked to see the convoy roll up and make us all leave. that's why we didn't leave. we felt it was all right to sit on the sidewalk. freedom of assembly. >> how were you treat had had in jail. what did you see? i heard what the alderman was saying. what did you see and how were you treated? >> the jail was filthy. the jail was cold. there was a man in there having a seizure which the guards paid no attention to whatsoever. think about this. we are the people in the community with the microphone. what about the average person like my friend the other night who i grew up with. they shot his dog, robbed him and beat him. that's what they are doing.
we got the microphones so they were probably treating us better than average people. >> all right. i have to leave it there. i'm sure that you will continue in covering this story. ryan french and umar lee, thank you both for being here tonight. great reporting, by the way. >> thank you. >> all right. thanks. >> coming up, new developments in the investigation into michael brown's death. president obama talked about the secrecy. >> when something like this happens, the local authorities, including the police, have the responsibility to be open and transparent about how they are investigating that death and how they are protecting the people in their communities. >> but there are still so many basic questions that are left unanswered. and is this a war zone in an american city? the militarization of police in america. wait until you hear what actual military veterans are saying. my hygienist told me that less tartar means less scraping.
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see car insurance in a whole new light. liberty mutual insurance. we haven't hurt anybody. nobody's gotten injured or killed. with the chaos going on right now, i am at least happy that nobody has gotten seriously injured. >> ferguson police chief thomas jackson talking about the police tactics in ferguson. but residents are for a very different account. teargas burns the eyes, nose and throat. rubber bullets cause real pain. this photo apparently shows a bruise suffered by a woman during the protest. despite all that, protesters are
marching again tonight on the streets of ferguson, calling for justice for michael brown whose tragedy lay at the heart of all of this. as president obama reminded us today. >> it is important to remember how this started. we lost a young man, michael brown, in heartbreaking and tragic circumstances. he was 18 years old. his family will never hold michael in their arms again. >> why are police refusing to answer even the most basic questions about michael brown's death. that's next. i make aot of purchases for my business. and i get a lot in return with ink plus from chase. like 50,000 bonus points when i spent $5,000 in the first 3 months after i opened my account. and i earn 5 times the rewards on internet, phone services and at office supply stores. with ink plus i can choose how to redeem my points. travel, gift cards, even cash back. and my rewards points won't expire.
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for more transparency in the michael brown investigation. he has directed attorney general holder to investigate. but five days after brown was shot and killed by a police officer, local police still refuse to provide even basic information about what happened that day. >> all the evidence has to be examined. all the ballistics is have to be examined and most importantly all the witnesses have to be talked to extensively. when all that's done and the toxicology reports are in there will be a clear picture of what happened out there. that will be presented to the grand jury. we'll have a conversation about release of the name. >> we still don't know the name of the officer who shot michael brown. we still don't know how many shots were fired. we still don't know how long michaelle brown's body was on
the street and we don't know what the police incident report says about any of this. there are still so many unanswered questions about the shooting and the investigation. now another eyewitness has come forward to tell us what she saw when michaelle brown was killed. >> i get closer when i see them through the window. the kid was pulling off and the cop was pulling in. the first gunshot came from the win can maddow. i could start getting out of the way because the shots just came after that. after the shot the kid breaks away. he started running away from the cop. the cop follows him, kept shooting. the kid's body jerked as if he was hit. as his body jerked he turned around, put his hands up and the cop continues to walk up on him and shoot him until he goes all the way down. >> joining me now is jim cavanaugh, msnbc analyst and retired atf agent.
and back with us is jamell jamelle bouie. why is it taking so long to get information about this investigation from official hs in missouri? >> no one actually knows why it's taking so long to get information back. it seems the police are stone walling. we don't know the name of the officer who shot. it's shocking and stunning. nor do we know how many bullets are fired or really anything other than what brown's friend described and witnesses that there is no indication brown tried to escape and the officer fired several times killing him. the police have been extremely reluctant to release information. they won't release the name claiming safety concerns. >> when i was down there just a day and a half ago, i found a lot of what was driving a lot of
the outrage was the secrecy. people not getting the answers. dragging it out for whatever reasons feed it is distrust in the community i'm picking up, more than anything. >> that's absolutely right. everyone i have talked to when i asked what can the police do right now to begin to heal the community. they said, release the name. they said, begin to treat this as if it were a tragedy and not a mistake you need to cover up. if the police can do that, i think that may begin to less intentions. the decision not to release information, the initial harsh response to demonstrators and demonstrations has created more d distrust. the distrust has been feeding on itself. i'm not sure if releasing the name would satisfy people. i do feel it would have
satisfied people on sunday or monday. >> you have been in law enforcement. i have been around a lot of questions on law enforcement for a long time. isn't this unusual? i can't recall five days later we don't know the shooter. we don't know how many bullet woundsment we don't know anything. why are we having this kind of delay here? >> that's the most curious thing about the case. if you followed the case closely as you have, as i have, and many of the viewers have, you have watched all the witnesses interviewed on msnbc and nbc. i have watched every one of them. this young woman described the scene, looked at what the chief said and everybody. tried to see what could have happened here. even if you take the most favorable description of the case from the officer's point of view, even if you did that just for the sake of argument it's
still murder. there is no report that's going to change that outcome of those facts. so we have a crisis. we have a policeman killed a young, unarmed man, shot surrendering. there were at least three eyewitnesses i saw talk about it. we have the gun. we have the bullets. we have the autopsy. we are saying we are waiting for a toxicology report that might take a number of weeks. the toxicology report doesn't matter what it says. in reality if they are both completely sober it changes nothing. if the policeman is on cocaine it changes nothing. if michael brown is intoxicated and the police is not, it changes nothing. it's still going to be a cold-blooded shoot down of an unarmed man in the street. the toxicology won't change any of that. i dismayed. >> the thing i find interesting.
this young lady's testimony corresponds with the other witness we have heard. almost the same story. as far as we know they don't know each other. you're saying the fact that even if you take the police version that there was an altercation, struggle for the gun. how does it become murder? when after the struggle the policeman, according to two witnesses, kept walking him down and shooting? >> let me break it down for you quickly, reverend al. i think it does illustrate what happened there. there's words. the officer kind of oh curses at him, tells him to get on the sidewalk. he backs up. the door is opened. there is an altercation. i don't think that's in dispute from the officer or from michael brown's friend or the witnesses. now there is a struggle at the car. michael brown's neck is grabbed and there is pushing and pulling
t. officer winds up with a bruise on the face. so the version that happened there completely for the officer's side. let's just say he was punched in the face, maybe michael brown went for his gun, i don't believe that happened really. say it did. then is the officer shoots him. let's sayer for discussion that's a justified shoot. when michael brown turns his back and walks away, that's over. if that was a justified shoot, that's over. if he gets out of of the car and shoots him in the back, that's murder. if he follows him up, turns and surrenders, that's murder. even if the officer's version is believed, which i think it's really not believable from the other witnesses but it's still murder. it's not going to change the facts. i'm dismayed that the united states attorney hasn't got a complaint and made an arrest on this case. i think we are waiting for the facts in evidence. >> your frustration is shared by
many. certainly by me. jamelle bouie and jim cavanaugh, thank you for your time. these are live shots of protesters now that marched to the scene where this young man was killed. they are live. you see the protesters peacefully at the scene where this young man was, michael brown was shot and killed by a policeman five days ago. we'll be right back. ee everyone in america almost every day, you notice a few things. like the fact that you're pretty attached to these. ok, really attached. and that's alright. because we'll text you when your package is on the way. we're even expanding sunday package delivery. yes, sunday. at the u.s. postal service, our priority is...was... and always will be...you.
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we are back with breaking news. live pictures from a protest in the streets of ferguson, missouri. protesters gather at the site of the michael brown shooting. so far tonight we are not seeing images like these from yesterday. police armed with military weapons on the streets of an american city. this vehicle is called a mine resistant ambush protected truck. it's the same vehicle used by the u.s. military. the police are using a sonic cannon called an lrad. the long-range acoustic device that emits powerful and painful alarm to control crowds. lrads are use bid the military and can cause permanent hearing
loss. today ferguson's police chief defended his officers and their tactics. >> the whole picture is being painted a little bit sideways from what's happening. it's not military. it's tactical operations. it's s.w.a.t. teams. it's police. we are doing this in blue. >> we're seeing officers in camouflage, not blue. armed with automatic rifles, dressed in riot gear, wearing helmets and kevlar vests. why are are police snipers aiming assault rifles at protesters in broad daylight? it's making ferguson look like a war zone. >> this is the police department. you must leave the area. >> joining me now live from ferguson is chris hayes who is hosting his show live from there tonight. thanks for being here, chris. >> thanks for having me, rev.
>> this week we have seen a larger problem all across the country that you have covered on your show. the problem of police outfitted as though they are military troops. what's your reaction been? >> this has been something -- this has been waiting to happen. we have seen really all the way back since the 1990s when the s.w.a.t. team was created, the first s.w.a.t. team was created in los angeles. the idea of having a s.w.a.t. team spread to police departments. it took off after the war on terror when the department of homeland security and the u.s. military used surplus military equipment being generated and not used by the military. the mrats you talked about. there are late model vehicles deployed oversees. earlier models are sitting around, not being used. it takes one form from a police
agency to get a spare. what happens with people and fancy gadgets and toys in all walks of life and all kinds of people, if they can get them for free, they will get them. you have very small police departments with very heavy, sophisticated machinery that's not for civilian use. >> now the federal government really has a surplus of military equipment. it's been sending to police departments around the country since 2006. 435 orrarmored vehicles. 533 aircraft. over 39,000 machine guns and 432 mine resistant armored trucks. why does the police department need a mine-resistant armored truck? are there mines on the streets of ferguson, missouri, right now? >> there are no land mines in the streets of ferguson. there is no reason to have an
mrat. i would be skeptable that those are really needed very much in large police departments. very rare cases, active shooter situations, people barricaded in compounds in which a tactical team might be used. but as radially balco wrote in his book about this, what happens is if you give them a hammer then everything looks like a nail. if you have the mrat there and the sound cannon and the fancy rubber bullet assault rifles when a hundred people -- keep in mind it was a hundred people last night in this intersection. when a hundred people show up you decide to take out the mrap because this is the perfect time to use it. >> please stand by, chris. i want to bring in dr. alexander, the president of the national organization of black law enforcement executives. thank you, dr. alexander.
>> thank you for having me. >> today we have seen democrats and republicans speaking out against the militarized police. senator elizabeth warren tweeted sh, "this is america, not a war zone. the people of ferguson just want answers. we all want answers." senator rand paul released a statement saying, "the images and scenes we continue to see in ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action." i mean, missouri senator claire mchaskill talked about it as well. watch this. >> we began equips police departments with all kinds of tools that had not been typical of policing in this country. maybe it's time to look at that. make a determination as to how effective is a show of what is military force in obviously an intensely emotionally charged
environment. >> as a police chief, how do you respond to that? how do you see this? >> well, let me say this, reverend. first of all, under the circumstances in which we are looking at there in that city in missouri, there were certainly a lot of equipment there that creates a lot of pause with all of oh us, particularly the fact that you're talking about citizens who are trying to march peacefully. it didn't have a good image attached to it whatsoever. we all agree with that. there are going to be changes obviously going to be made tonight with the state police coming in. i think you are going to see a softer approach to those that are going to march in peace. for those who may go outside the law, the few that may go outside of the law, they will be managed individually. you cannot assert or make the assumption that just because a number of people marched
peacefully that they should have to be confronted by such heavy artillery. >> it's not only artillery, dr. alexander. we have seen police use teargas to disperse the crowd which is really disturbing because teargas is a chemical weapon that the geneva convention bans from use in international warfare. it is banned for military use but we are seeing it used on citizens of ferguson, missouri, by their own police force. >> absolutely. that's certainly of concern to all of us that sit and watched this every night for five nights in our homes. the important peace here is that a change will be made. we'll welcome that change. for those who will go out, march tonight in peace, in remembrance of a young man who lost his life, we can all applaud the state police who are going to come in and who are going to
manage and respect the citizens there in that community. let me say one other thing. i will be in the city on saturday. i hope to have an opportunity and i will have an opportunity as i have had on a couple of occasions to speak with chief tom jackson. certainly share thought and ideas going forward. as of now he's the chief of the city. he has a police department that he has to protect. we are going to sit down and work with him and do some things to help him and his department move forward. >> i've got to move on. let me thank you, dr. alexander. chris hayes, you're there, you're on the scene doing your show from there tonight. what can we expect to see? >>it was quite a day here in ferguson and in st. louis and the state of missouri. we attended the press conference of jay nixon.
we just saw a nonviolent protest as it marched down the street. this was led by captain johnson of the state highway patrol, the man newly appointed by the governor to oversee the security situation. he's an african-american man who grew up here. he was marching and hugging the protesters. so far this is a different tone. there's been a different tone between day and nightfall. we'll see what night brings tonight. >> chris hayes and dr. cedric alexander, thank you for your time tonight. be sure to watch a special edition of "all in with chris hayes" live from ferguson tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern time. we'll be right back. [ girl ] my mom, she makes underwater fans that are powered by the moon. ♪ she can print amazing things, right from her computer. [ whirring ] [ train whistle blows ] she makes trains that are friends with trees. ♪
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